Brown marmorated stink bug

Halyomorpha halys

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) feeds on more than 300 plant species, thousands of bugs can enter houses during winter, and they stink. It would be a major problem for our crops and homes if they came to New Zealand.

About the brown marmorated stink bug

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is an agricultural, horticultural, and social pest. It's native to Asia and has spread throughout North America and Europe. In 2017 it reached Chile, the first time it had been recorded in the Southern Hemisphere. We don't want it in New Zealand.

Global distribution of brown marmorated stink bug

World map showing distribution of BMSB

Why BMSB is a problem?

The bug can ruin entire crops. It feeds on a wide variety of plants, including pipfruit, stone fruit, grapes, and kiwifruit. It'll eat nearly every fruit New Zealand grows.

During autumn and winter, thousands of bugs can enter houses to shelter from the cold. When they're disturbed they release a foul smelling liquid which can make your house hard to live in.

Map of New Zealand showing where this pest/disease could establish

When is it likely to be a problem here?

Adult bugs shelter from the cold in groups. They hide in cracks and crevices, in cars, in homes, anywhere they can fit. We might find them hiding in goods imported to New Zealand any time between September and April.

Watching out for BMSB

If they sneak into New Zealand, you'll probably first notice them indoors from April onwards as they look for shelter from the winter cold. They move quickly when they're disturbed. They're hard to detect in your garden, if there aren't many of them. You're unlikely to spot them there unless they get seriously established in New Zealand.

You may find them in packages from overseas. Be extra careful opening parcels if your item:

  • was stored before being shipped
  • is from an agricultural region.

How to identify BMSB

Brown marmorated stink bug with size scale in centimetres Brown marmorated stink bug

 

An egg mass with immature bugs (nymphs).
Image: Public domain, Gary Bernon, USDA-APHIS

An adult BMSB:

  • is 14mm to 17mm long
  • has white banding on the antennae
  • has alternate black and white markings around its sides.

These clues will help you tell whether you've found a BMSB or one of the other species of stink bugs in New Zealand.

Identify and compare similar-looking local species - Landcare research

Download our BMSB fact sheet for more information [PDF, 1.6 MB]

If you think you've found a BMSB

If you're not sure, we'd rather you call us.

 


Note: This information is a summary of this pest's global distribution and potential impacts to New Zealand.

Last reviewed:
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